2 May 2017: Leading psychologist Dr Mark Winwood has devised a simple daily formula to help boost resilience and performance:
- 30 minutes of walking or light exercise
- + at least 20 minutes to wind down before bed
- + 10 minutes of ‘me time’
Feeling down is no picnic. According to a survey of 2,000 UK adults by AXA PPP healthcare,* low resilience can adversely affect mood and motivation (56 per cent) and performance at work (50 per cent) – factors that could account, in part, for the UK’s 35 percentage point output per hour productivity gap with Germany.**
Thankfully, most people (86 per cent) acknowledge the importance of resilience for being able to manage life’s challenges and setbacks.*** And they appreciate there’s room for improvement, with nearly two thirds (62 per cent) saying they want to be more resilient and a fifth saying they think this would help them specifically at work.
To help address this, Dr Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare, has created a simple three step formula as a starting point – 30 minutes of walking or light exercise + at least 20 minutes of a relaxing wind-down routine before bed (increasing to an hour over time) + 10 minutes a day of some ‘me time’ – which, when taken together, adds up to a resilience boosting ‘Power Hour’. These habits, despite seeming relatively small, can have a sizeable effect on Brits’ wellbeing and really help manage our energy.
Dr Winwood comments: “We live in an ‘always on’ society. When we’re not busy working, we’re doing domestic chores, looking after our families or checking social media – sometimes all at the same time. Even finding five minutes for ourselves to pause to think, reflect or take a relaxing soak in the bath can be a challenge. But they’re crucial for our wellbeing.
“Feeling tired, stressed and always on the go can undermine our ability to deal with life’s challenges. But finding the time for ourselves to take stock, recharge and reflect on our priorities is all too often lost to the fray of day-to-day living. This is why I’ve devised a simple 30-20-10 formula to kick start three healthy habits which, if practised daily and expanded on, should help Brits to cope with stressful situations more readily. To be at our best, we should be taking at least an hour to wind down for bed, but in today’s frenetic society, this can be a luxury many people don’t have. Starting with 20 minutes is more achievable – whether it’s a relaxing bath, caring for a pet or reading. Getting away from blue light (for example from the TV or mobile phones) will also help calm the brain and let it switch off, allowing for a more restful and restorative night’s sleep.”
After a life-enhancing epiphany that a little ‘me time’ every day was helping him to feel happier, physically healthier and handle unexpected challenges, Sam Sahota changed his career to become a life coach. He comments: “Having ‘me time’ and practicing mindfulness has been invaluable to my mental wellbeing and also my physical health. My immune system is stronger, I no longer smoke and I generally feel energised. I swear by taking some ‘me time’ for reducing stress and building my resilience, as I use this time constructively to relax my mind and body, allowing me to concentrate on the present moment and switch off from the events of the day. This is helpful for stress management, as it enables me to move on from any irritations I’ve experienced during the day.”
Sam continues: “I’ve faced upsetting situations that could have compromised relationships and my mental wellbeing, but working on my resilience has taught me how to deal with these challenges and gives me the reassurance that everything will be fine.”
The ‘Power Hour’ is backed by TV presenter and avid walker Julia Bradbury, who comments: “I have a hectic work schedule and three young children so finding time for myself can be difficult – but I swear by taking some ‘me time’ and getting out for a walk to build my resilience. Walking is my passion, and I often set out a problem that needs addressing then dedicate my time out walking to mull it over and think about solutions. Moments of reflection are so important. An intense example which proved to me the importance of positive thinking was a time when I learned to rock climb from scratch in eight weeks. This tested me physically and mentally; especially when I got trapped under a ledge on a high cliff. It was a moment of uninterrupted thought, focused solely on me and what I can achieve. It took me about 20 minutes to convince myself that “I can do this”. It was a turning point, when I realised it’s just as easy to turn a petrifying thought into a positive one. Dealing with your situation and thinking positively is crucial to resilience.”
It’s heartening to know that some people surveyed by AXA PPP healthcare recognise the positive impact the three ‘Power Hour’ activities have on their resilience, with 68 per cent, 56 per cent and 39 per cent ranking sleep, ‘me time’ and exercise, respectively, among their top three resilience boosters.
Julia Bradbury and AXA PPP healthcare are urging Brits to pledge to set aside some ‘me time’ every day for four weeks to help them to better appreciate the present moment for a more positive outlook. The MeTime #TRYit challenge starts on 15 May 2017 – make your pledge here.
*Research of 2,000 UK adults undertaken in January 2017 by Vitreous World for AXA PPP healthcare.
***Respondents were asked to rate how important feeling resilient is to them personally in their day to day life on a scale of 0 (not at all important) to 10 (very important), with 0-5 scores interpreted as being low and 6-7 interpreted as being high.